Content Design

Content Design

Christopher Murphy · 4 September, 2020

It's almost impossible to design without content. And, yet, content is all too often left until the last minute and created without much thought.

Regardless of what we‘re building – a website, an app… – content Design is incredibly important.

If the term is new to you, you should drop everything and pick up a copy of Sarah Richards' book Content Design. It’s definitely one of my top ten books on designing for humans and I’d recommend it highly.

Richards was our second guest speaker during our COVID-19 Founder Fireside series, during our beta testing, and she was the opening speaker at my design conference, Break.

More isn’t necessarily better…

Adding, adding, adding content to a site – with no cohesive plan - is not a good approach. A better approach would be questioning:

  • What are your customers’ needs? What are their goals? Then tailoring your content to meet those needs accordingly.
  • Bear in mind that words are only one form of content. Your audience might prefer audio, video or another form of content.

When trying to determine the best approach towards your content design, I find scenarios are helpful. For example…

Alice is a new mother, she’s currently on maternity leave. Alice is the Senior Designer, leading the design team and Company X, a digital strategy consultancy with offices in Glasgow, London and New York.

X’s clients tend to be large multinationals who look to Alice and her team for guidance on new and emerging trends in the digital landscape.

An important part of Alice’s role is to stay abreast of these developments so she can ensure her clients are able to evolve their strategies to meet the world as it is now, and will be tomorrow.

How would we tailor content for Alice? How might we ensure that she’s kept abreast of developments in technology and she’s able to do that, in an enjoyable way, while she’s on leave?

And by ‘designed’, I don’t just mean choose a layout, typeface, colour… I mean:

We’re designing a learning experience for new mothers:

Q. Who is the user? A. A Mum, with her hands full, carrying a newborn baby. Q. What’s the best way to deliver this content to her? A. Audio – a podcast, an audio support document

Originally: Mentoring notes for JE and CS.